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City to pay sludge fine

By Staff
Hearing set on rooftop rules
By NIKIE MAYO
News Editor
The City of Washington will fork over a $1,750 fine for failing to appropriately monitor its “sludge,” according to a settlement reached with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
City Manager James C. Smith apprised the city council of the agreement during its meeting Monday night.
The city’s wastewater treatment plant is classified as a Class I sludge management facility, meaning that the facility serves at least 10,000 people or has a “design flow rate” of at least 1 million gallons per day. Based on that EPA classification, the city must test its sludge for pollutants four times a year.
The city has been testing its sludge twice a year, Smith said. Those tests have coincided with the city’s schedule to dispose of sludge, he said.
But doing the tests fewer than four times annually is what EPA terms a “failure to monitor at the correct frequency prior to land application of sewage sludge.” That language is included in the settlement agreement the council approved Monday.
Smith said the city has not disposed of its sludge without testing it first; its simply the frequency of the testing that’s in dispute.
In other business, the council agreed to have a public hearing on its policy about rooftop additions or alterations. That hearing will be held Aug. 13.
The Historic Preservation Commission hopes to retain the character of as many of the city’s older structures as possible, said spokesman Michael Overton.